1. Writing friends are awesome
My first college writing professor told me that while writing is a solitary occupation, writers still need people. I didn't quite believe her. Sorry, Professor Triant, wherever you are. You were right. In the past couple of years, through blogs and writing forums, I have made writing friends. We met for an online chat recently and although we were helping one of the girls work out the plot for a story, I ended up writing more of the novel I've been so on-and-off about this year because I felt inspired to get back to it.
2. Sometimes, you just gotta cut and paste.
I was working on the novel last week when parts of it struck me in such the wrong way. I realized that really, one part of the story was working a little bit more at this stage and the other parts read like I forget how to write.
So I cut and pasted one half of the story into another document, to be looked at once I've finished the part I'm working on now. It'll keep me from going mental.
3. Even goofing off writing helps
I posted about this pretty recently: comfort writing. It's completely not serious, it's only shared among very close friends, and everything and the kitchen sink is liable to get thrown into it. But the lessons I took away from that are: Remember how much fun this is, actually? Yeah, try to have more of that.
Writing something light, frothy, and hilarious is awesome. Plus, since I've developed as a writer since the last time I wrote one, this story actually has, like, a plot, a premise, character development, and an ending.
4. Be open and the opportunities will arise.
Writers, I have come to learn, are a very supportive bunch, whether they are writing friends, belong to the IWSG, or are in the pool of writers in a contest or regular commenters on a blog. Paying it forward is an important part of being in the writing community--and it is an online community. It's one of the reasons I wanted to start featuring guest bloggers on the blog, to foster some of that writing community. I was helping a friend out with some book promo and she asked me to join her in a writing project.
5. New challenges will teach you new things.
I started drafting a short story for my friend's writing project. I'm not great at writing short, but I did write short stories in college, so...we'll see how this goes. At most, it'll teach me how to write short and then I'll be able to write more of them, which will allow me to explore other writing opportunities.
6. A blog schedule really does help
I've been reading how one of the "cardinal rules" of blogging is to keep to a blogging schedule. I never have. And that's been fine. But there was a point in August where I didn't want to work on the novel, I didn't want to blog, I didn't even particularly want to read--and in the event of those types of mood swings, keeping a schedule really does help your readers know when to anticipate a new post. If they know when it's coming, then they'll come to read 'em--maybe? So I'm trying to keep a Wednesday and Saturday schedule for now, with the reserved right to post on other days if I feel like it or if there's a guest post or something exciting happens. Writing is cumulative.